Bernie Faces Must-Win State

Losing Michigan could be catastrophic, write David Siders and Holly Otterbein
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2020 7:00 PM CST
One State, Bernie Can't Lose
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden leaves after speaking Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Super Tuesday was tough on Bernie Sanders—but Michigan? It could be the end. So argue David Siders and Holly Otterbein in a sobering analysis of the March 10 primary. "It was Michigan where Sanders engineered a primary day miracle four years ago, upsetting Hillary Clinton and imprinting his populist agenda on the industrial Midwest," they recall at Politico. At the time, Sanders could argue that his 50-48 victory made him at least marginally better with white, blue-collar workers—a big win for the democratic socialist. But "one week from now, Sanders may not even win the state." To that effect, a Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll has him 7 percentage points behind Joe Biden in Michigan. And absentee ballots have him nearly 20 points behind.

Why a must-win? Well, Michigan has a big haul of 125 delegates, making it "a critical general election state and an indicator to Democrats of a candidate's broader appeal," they write. "A loss there could significantly undermine [Sanders'] electability argument." Biden admittedly has little campaign presence in Michigan and only $500,000 in TV ads there, while Sanders is getting support from faith leaders in the state. So it does remain up for grabs. But if Biden wins, Greg Sargent at the Washington Post sees an irony—that Biden's surprisingly progressive agenda seems influenced by Sanders: "Biden winning in Michigan after embracing such an agenda would reflect the success of Sanders himself ... even as it would be dealing a serious blow to the case for Sanders' candidacy continuing." (More Democratic presidential primaries stories.)

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